Originally created 04/13/02

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Football

Chicago signs ex-Falcon Chandler

The Chicago Bears on Friday signed free agent quarterback Chris Chandler to back up Jim Miller, ending weeks of negotiations.

The pact was for three years but the team didn't disclose the terms.

Chandler, 36, was released by the Atlanta Falcons despite a solid season. He passed for 2,847 yards and 16 touchdowns, and had a quarterback rating of 84.1 while playing behind an offensive line that allowed him to be sacked 41 times. The Falcons have decided to go with Michael Vick at quarterback for the 2002 season.

Chandler was the Falcons' quarterback in the 1999 Super Bowl and has twice been selected to the Pro Bowl in his 14 years in the NFL. But he also has a history of concussions and other injuries that have sidelined him.

Before coming to Atlanta in February 1997, he played for the Indianapolis Colts, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams.

  • Shannon Sharpe rejoined the Denver Broncos on Friday, signing a free-agent deal with the team he helped win two Super Bowls during the 1990s.
  • Sharpe, the NFL's career leader in catches by a tight end, played with the Baltimore Ravens the last two seasons, winning the 2001 Super Bowl.

    The 33-year-old Sharpe has caught 692 passes for 8,604 yards, also a record for tight ends, in 12 NFL seasons. He had 552 catches for 6,983 yards with the Broncos from 1990-99.

    The eight-time Pro Bowl choice signed with Baltimore as an unrestricted free agent after the 1999 season.

  • Fullback Mike Alstott and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers agreed Friday to extend the date the five-time Pro Bowl selection is to receive a $2 million roster bonus from April 15 to April 23.
  • Talks aimed at restructuring Alstott's contract, which also calls for a $2 million salary next season, will continue next week.

    Bucs coach Jon Gruden has said he would like to keep Alstott. However, there has been a question of what role he would play - and, at what price - following the signing of free agent running back Michael Pittman.

    Although he's been listed as a fullback throughout his career, the 250-pound Alstott is actually more of a running back. The fullback in Gruden's version of the west offense is primarily a blocker.

    Basketball

    Columbus State coach gets new job

    Jonathan Norton, who spent the past seven years as assistant coach for Columbus State, has been named Lander's women's basketball coach.

    Norton, 28, replaces Sheila Rhodes, who resigned after going 2-25 this past season.

    Lander athletic director Jeff May said Norton came highly recommended as a key part of one of the leading NCAA Division II programs in the country.

    "I can't wait to get started," Norton said.

    Norton said from working in the region he thought a couple of schools would be be great head-coaching opportunities if they became available. "And Lander was one of those schools," Norton said.

    Norton said he got to find players "since we only have five or six remaining."

    Columbus State was 28-8 in 1999-2000 and 31-1 a year later, advancing to the final eight of the NCAA Division II tournament.

    May said the school wanted a proven record for successful recruiting. "Coach Norton has been outstanding in that area," he said.